Perhaps the strongest response to cruelty is kindness. And in the aftermath of the April 7 attack in Stockholm, Sweden has done just that, with public figures and private citizens reaffirming their values of tolerance and openness. Sweden, they remind us, is stronger than the man who hijacked a lorry and turned it into a weapon.
On Sunday thousands turned out in Sergel’s Square, near the site of the tragedy, to show their support for the victims and their families. Among the four who died were two Swedes, one of whom was only 11 years old, a British man and a Belgian woman. Fifteen more were injured, and nine of them remained hospitalised on Sunday.
Among those paying tribute was Melodifestivalen 2017 star Nano, whose song “Hold On” has become an anthem of perseverance.
“I want to show my support and to spread hope and love,” he said after his performance. “For me, that is where I come from, it’s an honor to come here, so there was nothing to hesitate over when they called me last night.”
He announced his performance on Instagram on Sunday morning, posting an image of the Stockholm skyline.
“Today I sing for Stockholm,” he wrote in the caption. “The love that you have shown each other these days begets hope. Come and show your support! #SergelsTorg #Stockholm #HoldOn”.
His Melodifestivalen 2017 song “Hold On” is timely, as it encourages people to push past their struggles to find peace.
He embodies that message better than most, having moved from prisoner to pop star, even winning the Melodifestivalen televote in March.
Sarah Dawn Finer — beloved singer and Melodifestivalen personality — also came out to show her support.
Sarah, known to many Eurovision fans from her comedic character Lynda Woodruff, performed a stripped-back, acoustic version of her Melodifestivalen 2009 song “Moving On”.
Strumming the guitar and showing off her lovely vocals, she proved that “Moving On” doesn’t just work as a power ballad, but also as an singer-songwriter ode to self-belief.